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Somewhere Sunnier with Youn Chang of OJOOK
Words: Talya Wong + Courtney Chew
Interview: Youn Chang
Images: Provided by Youn Chang
OJOOK is a body health brand whose mission is to extend the life of our bodies + planet by transforming our everyday routines into sacred rituals. With roots in oral care, the brand offers an array of products that are built upon generations of Eastern wellness philosophy for health and longevity. Founder and CEO, Youn Chang created OJOOK after becoming a mama and recognizing the urgent need for products that are both sustainably and wellness focused. By bridging cultural heritage with science and sustainability, OJOOK offers products that work for our bodies and our Earth. With formulas that don’t compromise efficacy, packaging that will not end up in landfills, and wellness that teaches cumulative habits and rituals, Youn has managed to create a brand that promotes harmony between the mind, body, and the environment.
We are so excited to partner with OJOOK for our second installation of Somewhere Sunnier: an initiative we started last year in response to the pandemic, as a way to highlight fellow small brands, to encourage supporting and shopping local, and to bring community together in an effort to inspire the feeling and the comforts of warmth and sunshine at home.
Over the course of the next three weeks, we'll be sharing the stories of three brands we admire. We're also including a special something from the featured brand of the week in orders placed online OCIN.CO as a gift with purchase*, so that you can see and experience first-hand why we love them so.
Join us on our last trip Somewhere Sunnier with the passionate and curious human behind OJOOK: Youn Chang.
To receive your free gift with purchase for orders over $50, click here to add a full-size OJOOK nHa+ bamboo salt toothpaste to your cart.
*Somewhere Sunnier gifts are available in limited quantities, and subject to order amount. One per customer per order. The gift will automatically discount to $0 at checkout once added.*
OCIN: Why did you start Ojook?
Youn Chang: When I had my daughter 3 years ago, it really hit me that if I didn’t make a conscious effort, my half-Korean daughter may never innate my Korean heritage. OJOOK was my best attempt to bridge the two worlds I belonged to - Korea and the US - for her and make the world a better place for her generation.
In Korea, the mouth is a symbol of life, and having a full set of natural teeth in your 80s and 90s is one of the secrets to a happy and long life. So, I landed with the oral care idea. All the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly—oral care was close enough to leverage my manufacturing knowledge and network from Glossier and Apple, and I was making Eastern wellness more approachable through clean and sustainable products.
OCIN: What impact do you hope your products have on people and the planet?
YC: OJOOK’s mission is to extend the life of our bodies and planet by transforming quotidian routines into sacred rituals. Pregnancy and giving birth to my daughter made me realize that we all have a finite life, so I wanted to create a brand that can help people make the best out of that precious time. The Eastern wellness philosophy that OJOOK embodies is all about holistic health that highlights small, yet dedicated daily rituals. In this view, wellness is a balanced lifestyle focused on long-term health, not a 2-week fad diet for a six pack of abs for summer. The goal is about longevity and happiness, not the youth. And in Eastern wellness philosophy, it’s believed that the longevity of our bodies is tied to the longevity of our environment.
Through OJOOK’s clean, minimal, and sustainable products, I wish to make Eastern wellness philosophy more approachable and enjoyable in our daily lives, so more people can achieve true wellness while honoring Mother Nature.
OCIN: Tell us a little about Ojook toothpaste and how it’s unique.
YC: OJOOK is the first brand to transform oral care into a lifestyle; a mindful and purposeful self-care ritual. You will immediately notice sharp contrasts to other toothpastes on multiple fronts: cleanliness, savory taste, minimal foam, and subtle, but fresh, pine flavor. Many say once they start using OJOOK toothpaste, they simply cannot go back to their old toothpastes.
Intentionally concise and clean ingredients - OJOOK toothpaste uses 30-50 percent fewer ingredients than the industry average (only 12 ingredients and water).
No compromise on efficacy - Less ingredients means more. OJOOK toothpaste is loaded with nano-hydroxyapatite (nHA) that's the only scientifically proven fluoride alternative for enamel restoration in addition to 9x baked Korean bamboo salt to rebalance oral microbiomes.
Sustainable: OJOOK products will not end up in landfills. We source sustainable and ethical ingredients, and all packaging is 100 percent recyclable or compostable.
With regular use, the bamboo salt will restore the ideal environment for good oral microbiomes, which help with bad breath, and you will notice less and less inflammation in your mouth (i.e., canker sores and gum bleeding). With nano-hydroxyapatite remineralizing enamel, your teeth will look more opaque and bright, with less sensitivity.
OCIN: What is something you’ve learned to appreciate from the challenges of this past year?
YC: I’ve definitely learned to appreciate my friendships through video meetings. With the global pandemic, we have been all forced to get comfortable with video meetings - something I was never comfortable with before. In 2020, I made by far the most friends across many different fields (and time zones) since I graduated from MBA in 2014. The new normal of everyone using video chats and working from home freed me from the constraints of not only physical locations but also the time that I never felt I had enough as a new mom in fostering these relationships.
OCIN: Somewhere Sunnier is an initiative to highlight community; to bring together brands and humans we admire and to push the support of local and small businesses. What is something about the global small business community and customers that inspires you?
YC: In today’s market, no problem is too small and everyone deserves to be heard. Now feels like the time of great inventions and I am inspired that the small business community is at the forefront of democratizing problem solving for every specific need.
I am also appreciative of customers who actively seek brands that resonate with their belief system. When those customers purchase something, they support the brand to achieve a shared vision - it is much greater than just a transaction of money and goods.
OCIN: What can we keep our eye out for from OJOOK this year?
YC: I am really excited to grow our community through continued education about nano-hydroxyapatite and Korean bamboo salt benefits. To do so, 6 incredible dentist advisors were added to the OJOOK team earlier this year. I truly believe our product can serve so many people who are looking to achieve holistic wellness benefits through clean and sustainable oral care. Starting this year, I am also reaching out to people with chronic conditions (hypothyroidism and autoimmune diseases such as Lupus and Hashimoto’s) and people who are transitioning into motherhood, because reducing a body’s burden from everyday chemicals and fluoride can really benefit these demographics. Product-wise, we have exciting and intentionally-chosen new launches in the pipeline in both core oral care and tool categories that we hope will delight many more customers later this year.